Purchasing a new pet – things to think about.
Choosing a new pet can be such an exciting time for the entire family! Pet ownership is extremely rewarding – the right pet in the right situation can become a valued and irreplaceable part of one’s life.
It is important to remember before purchasing a new pet however, that pet ownership is a huge responsibility. As a pet owner you are responsible for providing all the requirements of your pet – food, exercise, housing, grooming and veterinary care throughout its entire life. It is a sad fact that pet shelters are overflowing with animals that their previous owners could not or did not want to continue to look after for various reasons.
Purchasing a pet, therefore, should never be taken lightly or on impulse.
Some of the big things to consider include:
1. Can I look after my pet for its whole life?
With advancements in pet health care as well as general changes to pet lifestyles in Australia, pets are living longer than ever. The average lifespan for a dog is near to 10 years of age, although many dogs can live until their late teens and beyond. Cats will often live even longer (and the 20+ year old cat is no longer that uncommon).
2. Can I afford a pet?
A new pet will not only involve costs associated with the purchase of that pet but you will also be responsible for the lifelong financial care of that pet.
New puppies or kittens will require vaccinations, microchipping, desexing and worming/flea treatments. Adult pets will require dental care, annual vaccinations, and routine heartworm/worm/flea prevention throughout their life. The cost of food for your pet should also be considered, as well as grooming for longer-haired pets. Also consider that larger pets will cost more to treat than smaller pets as treatment doses are often based on weight.
Veterinary care can be expensive. It is strongly recommended that new pet owners consider obtaining insurance for their new pet. Good pet insurance coverage can prove to be a massive help for any unexpected health problems or emergencies that may crop up over a pets lifetime.
3. Do I understand how to care for my pet?
It is your responsibility, as a pet owner, to thoroughly research the basic requirements of your chosen pet. You should do this before considering purchasing your pet and prior to bringing your pet home so that you are well informed about the species-specific needs of your pet and so you're ready to take good care of it.
Consider talking to us about your needs/wants in purchasing a new pet. It is recommended that you research any breed-specific problems you may come across. Be aware that some insurance companies will exclude breed-specific conditions. If you are considering adopting a pet from a shelter, you should talk to the staff with regards to any underlying behavioural or health issues that pet might have and what it will entail to look after them.
4. Does my lifestyle suit the pet that I would like – Do I have enough time?
Before purchasing a pet you should consider how owning this specific type of pet may affect your lifestyle.
Puppies and kittens in particular, will require a very large time investment devoted to their training, socialisation and exercise. Adult animals will also require variable time investment, dependent on their species/size/breed that may include daily exercise/play and mental stimulation. Bored animals can develop undesirable and potentially destructive behavioural traits which can be very difficult to reverse.
Some questions to ask yourself before purchasing a new pet include –
- Are you prepared to walk your dog everyday?
- Are you home often enough to keep your cat or dog company and give them attention?
- Do you have time to give your puppy or kitten the basic reward-based training it needs?
- Who will care for your pet when you are away from home?
- Do I have suitable accommodation/space for a pet?
Before purchasing a pet consider:
- Am I actually permitted to have a pet in my home? – This is particularly important for renters.
- Do you have a yard? Is it secure?
- Where will your pet be housed when you aren’t at home? Where will your pet toilet?